A! Magazine for the Arts

Significant Works added to Asheville Museum's Permanent Collection

March 10, 2007

Thanks to The Collectors' Circle, eight new works by significant American artists have been added to the Asheville Art Museum's permanent collection.

"The Museum is delighted to acquire so many important and dynamic works of art," said Pamela L. Myers, Executive Director of the Museum in Asheville, N.C. "Each of these works adds nuance and depth to the Museum's holdings, and is extremely important to our understanding of contemporary American and Southeast art. We are profoundly grateful to the members of our Collectors' Circle for the acquisitions."

"Personal involvement goes into each of these purchases," said Circle member Rob Pulleyn. "At the end of the night, when the committee's funds were exhausted, individual members stepped forward and sponsored individual works. It is with this passion and dedication we continue to seek funds for the Roger Brown painting."

Brown is an important figure in American art, being one of the most well known Chicago Imagists -- a group of primarily self-taught artists outside of the mainstream who painted funky and irreverent subject matter with surrealistic whimsy and caustic humor. Brown was born and raised in Alabama, and his work draws on his own personal background. As a result this piece has significant ties to the Southeast and would be an important addition to the Museum's collection. It is currently on display in the second floor gallery.

The works acquired by the Collectors' Circle include the following:

  • Stowage is Willie Cole's largest and most ambitions print to date. The eight foot long woodcut is a piercing social commentary exploring issues of race, consumerism and traditional African beliefs. Cole is one of the leading contemporary American artists with a strong record of gallery and museum exhibitions.
  • Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome Blueprints from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One (1981) explores what Fuller is best known for, the creation of geodesic domes. Fuller's early experiments with domes took place at Black Mountain College, and he later went on to design the United States Pavilion at the Montreal Worlds' Fair Expo in 1967. Geodesic Dome Blueprints is the first of Fuller's to be added to the Museum's collection.
  • The outsider folk art sculpture, Untitled, by Russell Gillespie, adds to the Museum's growing collection of pieces by self taught artists, inviting viewers to study themes such as individualism, environment and craft. This particular work -- larger than most of Gillespie's constructs -- combines many of the materials used in early Appalachian rustic furniture but is non-functional, fanciful and decorative. Other works of art by Gillespie are in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  • Three color photographs by Mike Smith -- Blountville, TN; Piney Flats, TN; and Blountville, TN -- explore the unique beauty of the Southern Appalachian region and the people who call it home. Smith's photography is in collections around the nation, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • John Cage's "Haiku" was the first and only piece to be published by the Black Mountain College Music Press and emphasized this important 20th century composer's unique calligraphy and spare, idiosyncratic musical composition. It is an important work in the study of both Cage and Black Mountain College, and has been included in exhibitions around the world.
  • Hot Ass Baby is part of Sherri Wood's ongoing Tattoo Baby Doll Project. Wood's work explores the boundary between fine art and craft while addressing preconceived notions about women's work and roles and tattoo subculture. A contemporary North Carolina artist, Wood's embroidered baby dolls are first designed by women tattoo artists across the nation. Several of these works were included in the Museum's recent exhibition Under the Skin, which looked at the art of tattoos as both visual and social phenomenon.

The Collectors' Circle is a membership and support group of the museum, dedicated to learning about art and collections and to growing the museum's permanent collection through annual purchases. For more information, contact Rebecca Lynch-Mass at the Museum at 828-253-3227 ext. 114 or email rlynchmaass@ashevilleart.com.

The Asheville Art Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Museum is open every Friday until 8 p.m. Special docent-guided tour packages are available for groups and students. The Museum is located at 2 South Pack Square, in downtown Asheville. Admission to the Museum is $6 for adults and $5 for seniors, students with ID and for children 4-15 (children age three and younger are admitted free). Members are admitted free to the Museum.